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March 19, 2018
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v2.1 Reference

Between City and Country

Brookline, Massachusetts, and the Origins of Suburbia

Since 1945, American popular culture has portrayed suburbia as a place with a culture, politics, and economy distinct from cities, towns, and rural areas. In Between City and Country, Ronald Dale Karr examines the evolution of Brookline, Boston's most renowned nineteenth-century suburb, arguing that a distinctively suburban way of life appeared here long before World War II.

Already a fashionable retreat for wealthy Bostonians, Brookline began to suburbanize in the 1840s with the arrival of hundreds of commuter families—and significant numbers of Irish Catholic immigrants drawn by opportunities to work as laborers and servants. In Brookline the poor were segregated but not excluded altogether, as they would be from twentieth-century elite suburbs. A half century later, a distinct suburban way of life developed that combined rural activities with urban pastimes, and a political consensus emerged that sought efficient government and large expenditures on education and public works. Brookline had created the template for the concept of suburbia, not just in wealthy communities but in the less affluent communities of postwar America.

About the Author

Ronald Dale Karr is a retired reference librarian from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.


"Karr has engagingly detailed the rich evolution of Brookline, and clearly woven together the many strands of its development, in a manner that significantly expands our knowledge not only of Brookline but of the history of suburban development in the United States."—John Archer, author of Architecture and Suburbia: From English Villa to American Dream House, 1690–2000

9781625343048 : between-city-and-country-karr
Paperback / softback
304 Pages
$32.95 USD

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